Dear Dr. Manny,
I just got my first UTI, and I’m a little concerned about getting another one. What exactly is a UTI? Can it be treated at home, or do I need to go to a doctor? Are there ways to prevent UTIs from happening?
Thanks for your question.
A UTI is just an acronym for a urinary tract infection, which is an infection in your kidneys, bladder, ureters, or urethra. Most women get UTIs regularly, with chances for repeat infections and even long-lasting infections. One in 10 men will get a UTI.
The symptoms of a UTI include burning during urination, cramps, blood in the urine, an urge to urinate frequently, and back pain. More intense infections might come with fevers and extreme fatigue.
Bacteria from your intestines, particularly E. coli, can travel from your anus to your urethra. It will then infect your bladder and then travel to your kidneys, if untreated.
You can treat and cure a UTI at home, if you catch it early. Drink lots of water and avoid coffee, caffeine, alcohol, and soda.
Load up on Vitamin C to combat the UTI. The acid in the vitamin helps flush out the bacteria. Eat lots of yogurt, which has probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria. Half a teaspoon of baking soda also helps with the burning. Over-the-counter pain medication is available to stop the burning as well. However, if you develop a fever, back pain or are unable to urinate, go see a doctor immediately.
Preventing a UTI is key. Drink lots of water on a regular basis. You should be drinking water anyway, so this is just another reason to make it a normal part of your day.
For women, wipe from front to back when you use the bathroom. Otherwise, you’ll bring your gut and bowel bacteria to the front, where it might travel to your bladder.
Wash up before and after intercourse. This also should go without saying, but sometimes it needs to be reinforced. Some kinds of birth control dry up your vaginal area, making it more susceptible to an infection. If this is the case, rethink your choice.
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